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Copyright: Faculty

Copyright Considerations for Faculty

Faculty members have a unique set of concerns when it comes to copyright.

Does making copies of copyrighted texts for students qualify as Fair Use? Is it necessary to obtain permission before screening a movie in the classroom?

Read on, and explore the links in the red box to the right, to find out.

Know Your Copyrights: What You CAN Do

Photocopying for Classroom Use

The U.S. Copyright Office provides guidelines for educators and librarians making multiple copies of copyrighted books and periodicals for classroom use. (Note that these duidelines do not apply to coursepacks or readers, which require permission from rights holders.)

In general, multiple copies (not to exceed one copy per pupil) may be made by or for the instructor giving the course for classroom use or discussion, provided that: 

  • the copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below
  • the copying meets the cumulative effect test as defined below
  • each copy includes notice of copyright

Brevity Defined: 

  • Poetry: a complete poem if less than 250 words and printed on 2 pages or less; or an excerpt of 250 words or less from a longer poem
  • Prose: a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words; or an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, which ever is less
  • Illustration: one chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue

Spontaneity Defined: 

  • the copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher
  • the decision to user the work and the moment to use it for optimal teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permisson

Cumulative Effect

  • the copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made
  • not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, nor more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term
  • there should not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term

Media in the Classroom

Yes, you can show movies in class! Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act states showing motion pictures or other audiovisual works in class is NOT an infringement of copyright, provided that: 

  • performance or display of a work happens during the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution
  • performance or display takes place in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction
  • the person responsible for the performance or display has no reason to believe the DVD or videotape in question was unlawfully made

Copyright and Fair Use

Helpful Links: For Faculty